It truly is a whatever I can do to help mind set.
Feb.10 was another day at the office for the 11 Day Power Play crew as players hit the ice at the HarborCenter for their 7AM practice as they prepare to attempt to break the Guinness Book of World Records for the world’s longest hockey game. An event that will take place at the HarborCenter June 22-July 3.
Forty players split into two teams of 20 will play a non-stop game of hockey for 250 consecutive hours as they try to raise $1 million for Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Eleven straight days of hockey where all players must remain at the rink for the duration of the event.
While the players are hard at work with on ice practices and dry-land training at Impact inside the HarborCenter, behind the scenes the 11 Day Power Play planning group continues to focus on the other essentials of a successful event. Like finding sponsors and volunteers to help with the around-the-clock event.
The call-to-arms to find the needed 40 players-and 10 alternates-was met with overwhelming response as dozens and dozens of men and women put in applications. Telling their personal stories of how cancer has touched their lives and why they wanted to play. But just as vital as the players is the need for people who can give of their time in other ways.
“There’s the welcome table. Then I would say general assistance,” said Sara Marks of the 11 Day Power Play committee. “They would handle food and beverage. Whatever we would need. Then we are going to need people to handle apparel sales and donations…And we will need team bench managers.”
As of now, the 11 Day Power Play has about 200 volunteer applications on file, but that number is expected to increase as we get closer to the event. Marks said the “dream” total they are aiming for is 1,000 people.
The event website www.11DayPowerPlay.com has all the needed information for those interested in volunteering. The most basic job description is that of “runner” who must basically be ready to run any errand that is needed. The only age requirement is that all volunteers must be at least 16 years of age.
Refs-who must all be USA Hockey certified-as well as time keepers and score keepers are also key roles needed to be filled. It is believed the HarborCenter will lend the support of its score keepers and time keepers for 11 Day Power Play, but at the moment it is unsure what their availability will be for the extent of this event.
As word of the 11 Day Power Play spread, those interested naturally thought of playing as the first way of doing their part to help.
While there simply was enough roster spots to accommodate all of those who showed interest in playing, event co-founder Amy Lesakowski said that the truly heartwarming and encouraging thing was the fact that even when people found out they didn’t get selected to play, the majority of them were still ready to help in any way possible.
“The community is excited. People are putting on the applications online ‘whatever you need.’ Which is really humbling and exciting,” Lesakowski said. “The hardest part of the event was actually the application of the players process, because there were so many nice stories written by a lot of folks that have been affected by cancer. When they found out they weren’t accepted as players the majority of them said well I’m disappointed, but I’m going to get involved. Whatever you need. So that’s really nice to hear.”
The 11 Day Power Play rosters are dotted with familiar names as former Buffalo Sabre and NHL star Mike Peca and 97Rock DJ Dave Jickster will be lacing up the skates. As well as another former Sabre Andrew Peters, who will serve as a team GM.
But again, the people on the ice and on the benches are just part of the team effort that will be needed to break the existing world’s record.
Volunteers will be needed to help with everything from laundry to getting food to the simple act of even just sitting in the stands for an hour or so to cheer the players on as they take on this tremendous undertaking.
“We are definitely going to need people,” Marks said.